Christian Activist: Dear prime minister
What happened when Mike Walsh wrote to David Cameron
“Writing the letter was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and may have lost me friends”
However you used your vote on 7 May, I suspect the result was a shock, be it a happy one or not. I’m a lifelong member of the Labour Party, born and raised in the Thatcher years in a council estate on the east edge of Manchester. So it̕s an understatement to say I was not happy at the election result. Yet, my unease was not simply because my particular political tribe had not won, it was much more a deep sense of fear for what this result might mean for the most vulnerable people in our society. The as yet unspecified £12bn of further cuts to public spending will have huge effects, and those who rely on the safety net of a good society are likely to suffer the most. In the community where I minister, this sense of shock and fear was palpable, as was the feeling of helplessness. Like many that Friday, I didn’t know what to do, but I needed to do something.
That morning I travelled, after very little sleep, to the United Reformed Church Mission Council meeting, and was awake enough to hear an excellent sermon from the moderator of General Assembly, John Ellis. John reminded us that our political opponents are often as sure that their convictions lead to the greater good as you and I are about ours, and that even those with whom we profoundly disagree might still be good people. My prejudices confronted, I recalled a conversation in my local pub a few days before where a staunchly left-leaning friend remarked that he didn’t think Mr Cameron was evil, just that his life experiences meant that he didn’t get it.
A brief look on Facebook that evening suggested that many people were not so generous. The fear and anger was raw and plain, and likely to be ignored. These things inspired me to write an open letter to Mr Cameron on my personal Facebook page, reminding him of his responsibilities to all the people of this country, not just those who voted for him, challenging him to review his policies with empathy, rather than economic justification…
This is an extract from the July/August 2015 edition of Reform.